ALBANY, GA (WALB) - One of the biggest weekends of the year for downtown Albany is coming up next week.
The Snickers Marathon and what is now being called the Downtown Street Festival will be held on Saturday, March 3.
The Snicker's Marathon will be run through Albany Saturday morning. So far, 1,100 runners have registered for the Snicker's Marathon, which is less than last year, but officials know many runners will wait to register closer to the race.
The field of runners is excellent, as the Snickers Marathon has become a favorite qualifier for the Boston Marathon.
"We still have drawn from 42 different states, three different countries, so we are still pulling from the outside area. It's a great top 10 Boston qualifier. Last year, 23 percent of our runners qualified for Boston," said Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Rachelle Beasley.
Albany will host a runner's expo Friday night, March 2, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Civic Center to welcome the runners and get them prepared. There will be a wheelchair race, half marathon and marathon.
Also on March 3, the newly named Downtown Street Festival will be held in Albany. It used to be known as the Albany Mardi Gras.
Thousands of visitors will gather in Albany for a day and evening of fun and Albany has the chance to show off its growing downtown.
"Give the community a chance to come out and see the race. And then also good entertainment and good food and also see what we have to showcase in downtown Albany," said Tommy Gregors with the Downtown Street Festival.
The Downtown Street Festival and the Snickers Marathon are expected to have a total economic impact of $1.1 million.